The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise should, by all accounts, have sunk and gone under by now - some five films into this blockbuster franchise centered around Johnny Depp's eccentric mannerisms. And yet, the fifth installment, Dead Men Tell Tales proves to be one of the freshest entries in the series.
The story begins after the events of the third film, At World's End, with Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) cursed to serve upon haunted the vessel The Flying Dutchman for all time. Will's son Henry (Brenton Thwaites) tracks down his father and vows to set him free - a promise it takes nine years, and a lot of travels, to fulfill.
Henry gets his chance to fulfill his destiny when fate brings him into contact with the ghostly Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), a pirate-hunting marauder who's waited years to get revenge on the man who took his life: Jack Sparrow. Henry also needs Jack's help, and when he finally finds the pirate legend, Jack has also managed to tangle local astronomer/suspected witch Carina Smyth into his schemes.
When Jack learns that Carina, Henry, and Salazar all need him to find an important prize (Poseidon's Trident), Captain Sparrow has all the reason he needs to rope his wayward crew back in, with new promise of adventure and treasure. That is, if they survive Salazar, The Royal Navy, and the pirate hordes under Hector Barbossa's (Geoffrey Rush) control.
Dead Men Tell No Tales comes by way of director duo Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg - best known for directing episodes of Netflix's Marco Polo, and the 2012 film Kon-Tiki. The duo manage to capture a lot of the same high adventure fun as Gore Verbinski's first two Pirates films, with a visual experience that's worthy of big screen 3D viewing. Not everything is perfect, though, and in terms of quality, Dead Men Tell No Tales falls in the middle of the Pirates lineup.
Visually, Dead Men Tell No Tales is, as stated, a worthy Disney blockbuster movie product - especially when it comes to the visual effects for Javier Bardem's Captain Salazar and his ghostly crew, who all look spectacular in 3D. Thankfully, Rønning and Sandberg also know how to limit the amount of crazy slapstick and overblown action sequences that made later Pirates sequels drag: an opening act bank heist feeds the franchise tradition of elaborate chase sequences, but most of the other big action scenes are organically woven into the storyline, so that they don't feel contrived and formulaic, and are generally fun to watch.
The story by Terry Rossio (On Stranger Tides) and Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me if You Can) nicely balances a simple MacGuffin chase with a some nice new character introductions and old character developments - and then, weaves all of that around mythos established by the previous four films, to create some nice twists that call all the way back to the first installment, Curse of the Black Pearl. It's a fun experience for newcomers, and a great new jumping-on point for longtime fans - especially those who liked the first films, but never got into the later sequels.
The cast is what really secures Dead Men on the better end of the franchise spectrum. Maze Runner star Kaya Scodelario and Maleficent star Brenton Thwaites are great replacements for the Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley characters from the first trilogy - arguably better, as both of their characters are independent, smart, funny, and have great romantic chemistry.
(Javier Bardem Stars in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales)
A good story needs a good villain, and Javier Bardem helps make Dead Men Tell No Tales fun by chewing up scenery in the best way, as the ghostly Captain Salazar, while the visual FX team makes Salazar and his band of supernatural marauders into frightening threats. As for Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow? He’s still doing his same shtick, but thankfully, a quality supporting cast allows Johnny Depp to take a breather and share the comedic workload.
Some additional character appearances and interesting plot developments (no spoilers!) ultimately set the Pirates franchise up for an exciting next chapter; in other words, Dead Men Tell No Tales ironically breathes new life into the franchise storyline.0comments
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales will be in theaters on May 26, 2017. It is 2 hours 9 min and is Rated PG-13 for sequences of adventure violence, and some suggestive content.
Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars
The Film currently holds a not-so-great 3.23/5 ranking in our anticipation ratings. Be sure to rate it for yourself, HERE!